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Opinion: Time to Remove U.S. Troops From South Korea

South Korea is an example of bad U.S. foreign policy in a country that does not allow most of our products to be imported and where a large part of public opinion is unhappy with us.

This is the second of a two-part Op-Ed piece by Matt Horween, CPA, FSO (retired). To read the first part, please click here: U.S. Lacks Instinct For Self-Preservation

South Korea is my first example of our total disregard of any strategy in deploying 20,000-30,000 troops in a country that does not allow most of our products to be imported and where a large part of public opinion is unhappy with us for various reasons dating back to our support of the dictatorship of Syngman Rhee.

Not satisfied with our present untenable situation in Korea, with our troops held hostage to the fear of a massive North Korean surprise attack, our Department of Defense now wants to send the dependents of our troops that were formerly at the DMZ in South Korea to live with the troops in South Korea. Of course, this would lead to more balance of payments deficits and deprive the domestic U.S. economy of the spending the dependents now make in the USA.

If North Korea decides to move against South Korea our troops would immediately become hostages since there is no way the South Koreans and our small contingent of troops could contain them without using nuclear weapons. Therefore, our troops would become prisoners. Having the dependents of our troops there would only make the North Koreans even more likely to attack since we would be frozen by indecision as to how to react to the attack without harming the dependents who would for the most part would be women and children.

The only way to stop a North Korean attack by its huge 4.7 million man army (including reserves) would be for the U.S. to use nuclear weapons. If we have, tactical nuclear weapons in Korea they will be captured along with our troops unless we use the weapons. Does anyone believe that we would do this? I do not think we would use the weapons but instead would be forced to mount World War III to save our troops or let them just rot there as we did under Carter in Iran or a better example the Philippines in World War II.

I wonder what is the strategic value of the Korean peninsula to us now that the domino theory in Asia has been totally discredited and we are being bankrolled by China, which is an ally of North Korea. Does any of this make sense to you? I think we must want to protect our access to Korean cars from


, electronic gizmos from


and flat panel screens from



It might also surprise you to know that for more than thirty years the USA has, off and on, been feeding North Korea with free food. The North Koreans were then free to spend all their money on arming their regime and developing nuclear weapons and now helping other nations and terror groups to obtain nuclear weapons.

The media has acted in concert with our leaders by running heart-breaking stories of how the people of North Korea will die by the millions this or that winter if we do not feed them. Our government/ media complex has repeatedly told us that by giving the North Koreans, free food things will be better and South Korea will like us better.

Our leaders have told us repeatedly that Russia and China -- which fought alongside the North Koreans against us in the Korean War and again in the Vietnam War, where they fought against us by supplying Vietnam -- will somehow control the North Koreans and make them want to join the family of man, etc.

None of this has happened because Russia and China have no interest in stopping our financial bleeding related to the cost of our forces in Japan and South Korea. I will discuss our massive air, sea and ground troops in Japan in my next missive.

It is obvious to anyone who thinks about it, that what the U.S. government is doing now and proposing to do in the future in South Korea is not a good plan. So what would be a good plan? We could withdraw all of our troops, close all our bases, and bring all our assets back to the USA.

The troops would be with their families and we would benefit from their economic impact here. More importantly, our military could train them to be an instant deployment force. They could train in the southwest desert area of our country, where they would be on the spot in case Mexico implodes or their drug war spills over into U.S. territory. We would tell South Korea that it is time for them to take over their own defense and to go to the United Nations if North Korea invades their territory.

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It is obvious that we should deploy an anti-ballistic missile system to protect from a launch against us from North Korea. Of course, our current president is against our having an anti-missile defense. I guess after North Korea destroys part of Hawaii, he might change his mind or we will not reelect him. The production of the anti-missile system could provide good jobs in the USA for the likes of


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Northrop Grumman

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I think it would be a good idea for us to tell the rest of the world and our creditors like China that we take their concerns seriously about our fiscal situation and that, effective this coming fiscal year, we will reduce all of our foreign aid by 50%, including our contribution to the U.N. We should make clear that we would instead spend that money on needed infrastructure in the USA.

In addition, we should eliminate all funding for foreign students to study in the USA and instead use all of that money for scholarships for our own children. We would tell corporate America that it could get special visas to bring talented students to the USA for advanced degree training as long as the corporations pay for all their education, room and board as well as a visa fee of $2,000 per year for each student. That money would go to a USA citizen retraining fund.

If North Korea were to invade and take over South Korea, we would wring our hands at the U.N. and ask China and Russia to do something about it, and stop giving North Korea free food.

In addition, we would stop all imports from Korea and start making TV's again in Chicago or reopen some


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plants in Detroit. In the mean time, we could think about using nuclear weapons against North Korea to destroy their nuclear and missile capability. Of course, all of this would be in our self-interest and totally against our current way of looking at the world and would most likely result in resignations at the State Department in Washington, DC and at the Department of Agriculture; there might be a sit in to protest the reduction in free food to give away.

The end for now with the next installment being our troops in Germany and Japan and how this makes no sense either, plus we can no longer afford it.

Matt Horween owns NOC and holds Ford preferred stock and bonds. He is a certified public accountant and former commissioned U.S. Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Agency for International Development from March 1981 to March 1998. He served in Burkina Faso, Senegal, Egypt, Honduras, and Barbados and spent about 15 years overseas. He ended his career stationed in Washington, DC as the Financial Controller for the Bureau that controlled the foreign aid program for Europe including all of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union and its former Satellite Countries. Horween also worked as an auditor for Price Waterhouse & Company in New York City and held various financial management positions for several publically listed corporations. Early in his career, he served as a Radio Intercept Analyst for the U.S. Air Force Security Service and was stationed in Greece. Horween graduated with honors from the CCNY, Baruch School of Business Administration and was Editor in Chief of the "Accounting Forum." He received the Haskins Award Silver Medal from the New York State Society of CPA's for the second highest grade on the May 1969 NYS CPA Examination. Since his retirement, he has served as the Acting Controller of the Clark County Library System and a large PVO in Las Vegas, NV.